Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Mental Health Support » Feeling like I can't keep going


05-08-2014, 07:57 AM   #1
Elektrikhd
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Feeling like I can't keep going

This is probably going to be something of a convoluted mess, but that's my mind right now. I've been wanting to make a post for a couple of days more on the topic of disability, but I haven't been able to figure out how to say what I want to say, and now I'm here at work not sure how I'm going to make it, depression hitting pretty hard.

I can tell myself those same tired-out platitudes: this is only temporary. I'll get through this. Things will get better. I've been through worse. I have a lot to be thankful for. At best, they give me a few moments of feeling slightly less crappy. But I also can't let go of the idea that although I should feel better again at some point, I'm also going to feel like this again sometime later, too. It may go away, but it will come back, too. Just like the Crohn's, the depression is never truly cured, it just goes into remission.

After years of depression, most of my friends and family know, and are fairly understanding, but I just don't want to lean on them, even my boyfriend for support. And even with the Crohn's... It's not so much an independence thing, I'm not even quite sure what it is. Maybe embarrassment. I've gone on meds in the past, I've gone to therapists; neither is all that appealing to me right now, but I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and try at least one of them.

I'm stressed at work. I'm an elementary music teacher, and a month away from my spring concert. I'm a little better prepared than usual, but I'm also doing two shows this season, which has increased my workload. I seem to have a mini-flare starting (hoping that it's not going to be a full-on flare up, I'm sticking to my meds faithfully) what with increased trips to the bathroom and occasional signs of blood, I'm tired and sore all over all the time. I'm looking at how all of this stacks up and wondering how I'm going to make it. On the one hand, I feel like I can't take time off because there's too much to do at work and I've already missed so much time this school year, but I'm also worried I'll be pushing myself and make myself really sick. And then I hear the voice of my aunt back when I was in high school calling me lazy. But I'm really questioning if I can even handle full-time work in the long run. "partially disabled" doesn't seem to be a thing in the US, though.

So, I'm feeling stuck in an unpleasant situation and lacking in options. I keep having dark and troubling thoughts. The worst I see myself doing is either getting in trouble for calling out from work too much, or getting so upset that I either walk out one day or just keep driving one morning and don't even call. I put a good face on things most of the time, but I don't feel like I can handle this. I don't really know how to properly express that, though, and I don't really feel comfortable saying anything about it to most people. I guess it's leading me to want to isolate myself. At least I feel pretty comfortable with the internet.
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Crohn's dx in 2012, 19 days hospital
Winter 2015 Flare, 5 days hospital March, meds adjusted
(unDx flare 2009 caused by Zyrtec; suspect mild disease in 1990, age 6, followed by remission)

depression 2000, migraines 2012, glaucoma 2014

Humira (40mg/week)
Asacol (800mg 3x/day)
Prednisone when flaring
assorted supplements

Topamax (migraine)
Sumatriptan/Sumaval (as needed, migraine)
Latanaprost (glaucoma)
Viibryd (depression)
05-08-2014, 08:02 AM   #2
nogutsnoglory
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It's true that it's very hard to get proper care and hold a job in the us. I think it's important to be around as many as possible and find those you can confide in. At work is there someone in HR you can talk to about your concerns? Maybe they can work something out and have someone help you. I know you are embarrassed but you aren't alone in suffering from depression and illness and they are there to help you.
05-08-2014, 04:26 PM   #3
theOcean
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Not wanting to lean on people when you're depressed is pretty standard, unfortunately. I get like that too when I'm dealing with it. Accepting that you're allowed to lean on those people isn't as easy as people think, but ultimately, it can be one of the things that may help you most. And if not friends and family, then -- psychiatrists are a good idea. I've gone to one regularly since January 2011, and I was very lucky because we get along extremely well, and every visit lifts my mood just because I feel like I'm going to see a good friend.

And, since she's a psychiatrist: she's trained as a doctor so she understands my medical troubles and medication too, which is a bonus. When I was at my loneliest, she really helped me push out of it and shirk off my social anxiety. I still have issues from time to time, but, seeing her has been one of the healthiest things I've ever done for myself.

Regarding your flare: are you able to get treatment for it, even a short course of prednisone? Who knows, it might even make you extra productive from the side-effects.

I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with the flare on top of school, though. But I think your aunt is wrong: you aren't lazy. You have an illness and taking care of yourself should be your first priority. That takes much more strength than people realize, and especially when you're dealing with depression, that's the furthest thing from being lazy. It takes a lot of effort.

I think you should see if there's anything you can do for your flare and then, like NGNG suggested, see if there's anyone in HR you can talk to.

I know I'm just someone on the forum, but, if you ever need to talk to someone you can PM me. I'm happy to listen. The internet is a nice safe space when things like this are happening for me, too.
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Diagnosis: Fistulizing Crohn's, 2011 (originally Dx as Ulcerative Pancolitis)
Past Medication: Pentasa, Remicade, Prednisone, Imuran
Current Medication: Humira (biweekly), 100mg 6mp
Unrelated Medication: 36mg Concerta, 75mg Pregabalin
Currently: In remission!
05-09-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
Elektrikhd
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure how to proceed with HR yet. For medical stuff, it's straight-forward: there's a form I downloaded that I can have my doctor fill out and I submit it to the nurse in my building. I work in a large school district, though, so HR is actually in another building a few miles away, and I couldn't come up with anything on on the website, not even who works in the office. I guess I'll have to call them and ask who to speak to about attendance concerns? I don't know if that makes any sense.

A further snag is that I'm also setting up disability insurance. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is patchy, and the way I understand it, if I see a doctor about my Crohn's right now, I won't be covered for any Crohn's related disability for an entire year. Once the paperwork goes through I'll be safe, though. My medical coverage is at least pretty good, I just have to hope I can get an appointment outside of work hours, since on top of having missed a lot of time already it's also (of course) a really busy time of year.

I'm probably going to force myself to see a therapist. As much as I'm already feeling squeezed for time in my life, I'm even more opposed to adding yet another pill to the pile. Meanwhile, I may just need to vent or bounce my thoughts off of people some. And (somewhat paradoxically given the time thing) plus 45 minutes a week might not cut it for me in the short term anyway.
05-09-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
theOcean
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My thought process was pretty similar when I was first considering seeing someone. I just needed someone to vent to, to listen to me. It really helped. And if you feel comfortable: you can always come here to talk about things, too!
05-09-2014, 01:25 PM   #6
Ihurt
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I am so sorry you are dealing with all this. I would like to say that I can totally understand how hard it is for you being a teacher. My husband is a teacher, and his job is SOOOOO tough! I never knew or realized how much work goes into being a teacher. I take my hat off to you. Especially with how badly teachers are being treated these days( no appreciation at all). That and you being sick I know it has to be so rough on you. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I am sorry you are having such a tough time. Just want you to know that this group is wonderful and very supportive, we are all here for you...
05-09-2014, 01:37 PM   #7
Ali29
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The Family Medical Leave Act protects many people with absences, etc. I would definitely talk to HR - that way you are protected - also The American's With Disabilities Act covers Crohn's. There are accommodations that can be made for you. I know it is a little scary, but it can protect you from being terminated due to absences. Look up both of these and it may give you some comfort.

So sorry you are feeling so bad - sending positive thoughts your way!!
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Diagnosises - Mast Cell Activation Disorder, IBD Small Intestine-duodenum-villi blunted, Bile Acid/Fat Malabsorption, Chronic nausea-vomiting/pain, esophageal dismotility, mucosal edema, acid hypersecretion, Lymphocytic Colitis, Ocular Migraines, gallbladder removed

Current Meds: H1 H2 Anti Histamines, PPI, Enteragam, Lomotil, Phenergan, Percoset

Meds that did not work: Pentasa, Lialda, Zenpep, Entocort EC, Carafate, Elavil, Lotronex, Desipramine, Questran/Welchol severe bloating/pain.
05-13-2014, 12:27 PM   #8
Elektrikhd
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Ok, I've put in a call to HR. I'm not sure what will come of it, but I guess I can at least get a more clear idea of what my overall situation is, and what will happen if I wind up missing more time from work.

I kindof thought I was feeling a little better for a couple of days. Physically, I do seem a little better, but I'm in bad shape mood-wise. I'm working on finding a therapist today so hopefully I can be seen ASAP. I had what may have been a mild panic attack yesterday morning, although I was still able to get through work. I've been having anxiety, which is unusual for me, and the depression has gotten pretty bad (yet somehow I'm making myself go to work). There's a chance it's related to the Topamax, since it appears to have that effect on some people. I'm really not sure in my case...I was starting to get depressed before I went on it, and I do tend to have problems at this time of year. I have to do something about this soon, though.
05-13-2014, 12:29 PM   #9
theOcean
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Good luck finding a therapist. Would recommend a psychiatrist over a therapist, though, since they have a medical background and would understand your illness and medications, as well. That's only if that's an option for you, though!

I'm sorry to hear your depression/anxiety is getting worse, though. I know what that's like.
05-13-2014, 01:08 PM   #10
Daisy123
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I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time, I also teach but at University level so I appreciate the stresses of the school year. I have felt just like you, this last semester has been a nightmare and I don't feel I have been on top of things as I usually am. This is partly due to constant diarrhoea and heavy duty pain meds. I only just made it through. I am temporary at my institution but after four years of working there I am due an upgrade to fractional permanent status. I am having tests and might have to have another operation, so I am beyond myself with worry that I will lose my job before I am permanent. So I understand but what you need to do is get your health sorted out. Once you feel better, everything will look better. You will be able to work full time, I have always worked despite seven resections. It does get better.
05-17-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
Elektrikhd
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A little bit of an update. It's been a sucky week at work for me, kindof stressful. I've been talking with my boyfriend more, and he understands better what's going on with me; as I suspected, I haven't been expressing myself very well (sometimes I just don't want to speak, as much as I want to tell him, or anyone, what's going on). I've had trouble getting in contact with my neurologist; he returned my call, but I couldn't answer... I did speak with my pharmacist, and he said that the Topamax causing depression is extremely rare. So that's good news on the migraine front, because that has nearly fixed the migraine problem.

Biggest thing, I remembered that the union at work has a connection with a group that does mental health support, referrals, some job support stuff, etc. I contacted them and heard back quickly. They're helping me find a psychiatrist, or at least some sort of therapist, and they can act as something of a "case manager" for me. They also know how to do things to protect my job if I need to take an extended leave, and they'll be able to help if I need any disability accommodations as well. They also can set me up with an in-patient program if need be (but I don't think things are that serious).

So, I have some things to think about. The person I spoke with suggested I take a day to make some calls and see if I can get some appointments set up, as well as give myself a break from things. I may need the time to figure out what I need for myself, too. I'm conflicted about taking more time off, though. I've missed a lot of time from work this year, enough to warrant a "conference" about it, and more absences might be enough to result in disciplinary action (I that would be withholding my next pay raise). I also do care about my job...I'm closing in on the spring concert and I feel like I should be there to get my students ready. That would mean going 3 weeks without missing any time.

And despite having dealt with depression off and on over the years, I still find it to be a bit of a confusing situation when physically I feel somewhere between "well enough" and ok, but mood-wise I'm a mess. I know that most of the time I can force myself to keep going, get to work, get through the day. Maybe it's strength, but I also sometimes wonder how much I just don't like working, don't want to deal with it...sometimes a bit of the social stigmas and things I heard from a relative when I was in high school about being lazy or wanting to avoid responsibility (and admittedly, I do feel like I have too many responsibilities, and would like to get rid of several).

Anyway, doing some thinking, might go have a cry at some point. I've been holding it back and should probably let it out sometime.
05-21-2014, 09:18 PM   #12
Elektrikhd
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Well, this is not the update I expected to be making. I'm scheduled to see a therapist tomorrow (couldn't find a psychiatrist on my insurance in my area), and discussed the Topamax with my neuro, and I accept his opinion that it shouldn't be causing this degree of depression and anxiety, and that the side-effects are outweighed by the benefits, both versus other meds and stopping a migraine prevention med (because my migraines had been debilitating at times). So more or less good news and progress on that front.

But the part I didn't expect was that my blood work came back positive for Lyme disease. So I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow to figure out my next steps on that. It would explain a lot of my current problems. From what I've read of the symptoms, I've had quite a lot of them, too. So this is a little scary. Two of my friends do have Lyme, tho, so I've been in contact with them. Now to see where this goes...
05-21-2014, 10:49 PM   #13
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Lyme Disease? WTF?! I'm so sorry... And this is in addition to your Crohn's? I can't give advice because I'm not in your position. I suppose if I were you, my approach would be to take one day at a time. Take what each day brings and try not to move beyond the one day mentally. This is what works best for me in my condition. Anyway, I will send up prayers.
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05-21-2014, 11:12 PM   #14
DJW
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Hi. My heart goes out to you. Sending you my support. I hope you start feeling better soon.
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